I like to go camping, but I am also a geek in wanting to add some electronics and technology to help me with my camping experience. How much technology that you want to incorporate is up to you, and there are a number of ways to use technology to keep you more organized and for making sure that you do not get lost.
Planning a camping or backpacking trip can be cumbersome and the details can easily become a huge blur. However I have found that with a little bit of software one can ease that planning burden. If you are wanting to keep track of your trip meals, ingredients needed, and for how many people the Camping Food Planner is what you might want to use. This software allows you to put in all your ingredients, food items, meals, number of people, number of days for your trip and track all your meal plans. You can then also print out reports showing shopping lists and a meal report so your guests know what to expect for each meal and snack along the way.
Microsoft offers a number of free templates that will help you produce a packing checklist and a over view which has who is going, gear needed, camp details.
If you have young kids like me then a portable DVD player can come in really handy. From distracting your child from the long drive to the camp site to using short movies or shows to keep the youngsters busy when attending to camp duties such as cooking or clean up details can save your sanity. Of course once your child is old enough you can delegate simple task to your child. On my last trip my son was a huge help in getting the tent up. He listened to my instructions and worked hard to help in all he could to his level.
For those of you who like to go backpacking and get off the roads, then I suggest that you invest in a good GPS unit. These items are fairly inexpensive, are light weight, hand held devices that can and just might save your life. When purchasing a GPS unit for hiking make sure that you have the ability to upload the current maps from the forestry service. This will ensure that you always have access to the best of information before heading out in to the back country.
I also suggest that you do not count only on your GPS unit. Batteries die, things break. Invest some time to learn how to read the forest service map and learn how to use a good compass. Buy a good compass and learn how to use the device.
Another good item to have when hitting the back country is a Personal Locator Beacon. Most units will transmit up to 36 hours once activated. These units transmit your location via satellite to COSPAS-SARSAT, an international satellite system that will forward your coordinates to the appropriate local agencies. This type of unit is a bit more expensive, but for those wanting to go a little more extreme in their backpacking or venturing into the back country this device will help others find you. A most valuable tool when someone is hurt and you need help right away. A tip for those extreme individuals, always submit your hiking plan with the rangers office. This way when they get a Locator Beacon going off they will be able to track it back to the backpacking party on file.